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Hitchin Town 4 Cambridge City 2

Monday, March 7 2016

Hitchin Town made it six points from two games in three days as they cruised past Cambridge City. In an open, attacking match, Hitchin's superior approach play made light of the fact that they had a tough match on Saturday while City had an enforced day off. 
The Canaries line up contained one change from Saturday with Lewis Rolfe filling the injured Kane Smith's role at full back. Josh Bickerstaff returned to partner Dan Webb at the centre of defence. Amongst the substitutes was John Frendo, signed on dual registration and available to Mark Burke for midweek games while appearing for Cheshunt on Saturdays.  
Before the match, Terry Barratt made a presentation to Callum Donnelly to mark his 250th appearance for the Canaries during the previous game against Dorchester. 
Both teams set off at a gallop but Hitchin were making the more effective inroads. Lewis Rolfe and Ben Walster pushed on down the flanks and the former worked with Brett Donnelly to fashion an early chance for McNamara which was scuffed wide. Callum Donnelly then put through Jonny McNamara. His low shot was fumbled by keeper Barrett but gathered at the second attempt. McNamara then scooped the ball over the goal as Hitchin went for an early goal. 
A goal did arrive and it was a superb way for Callum Donnelly to respond to his earlier award. Kirkpatrick's corner was only half cleared and reached Callum just outside the area. He returned the ball with interest to beat Barrett on 15 minutes. 
Cambridge City tried to muster a response and Hall presented Horlock with an easy save from an angled shot before firing over. 
However any revival by the visitors was halted by Hitchin's second on 35 minutes. Lucas Kirkpatrick fired in a dipping shot from nearly 30 yards out that gave the City keeper no chance. 
Hitchin's goal threat was coming from all sources as McNamara just failed to turn the ball home from a scramble in the City area, while Barrett had to turn away a drive from the corner of the area by Mason Spence. 
The first half ended with Norris heading just over from what had been City's first corner in the match. 
HALF TIME Hitchin Town 2 Cambridge City 0 
As in the game against Hungerford, Hitchin were brought back down to earth straight after the interval. On 47 minutes, Woolfe got past Walster and slotted beyond Horlock to give the visitors hope.  
As on Saturday though, they responded in the best possible way four minutes later. Good work by both Donnellys allowed McNamara to cut in from the flank and slide the ball home to restore the two goal lead. 
Hitchin continued to press for goals – with Redditch's match being postponed at the last minute, a very heavy victory would have squeezed the Canaries into second place! - and Callum Donnelly fired just wide. Mason Spence was particularly unlucky not to get on the scoresheet as he was denied three times in one move by Barrett, the woodwork and a City defender. 
A fourth goal did arrive and it was reward for a fine MOTM performance by Kirkpatrick. His first effort was blocked at the near post but he persisted and his second lofted attempt went in from an angle. 
As both teams rang the changes from the bench, Cambridge City also continued to look for goals but the Hitchin defence was solid with some effective challenges holding them mostly at bay. 
It was perhaps understandable, given their efforts over the two games, that the Canaries were caught out by a late consolation goal by City. Norris turned on the edge of the area to fire into the top corner. Horlock did get a touch on the ball but the shot had enough power and placement to beat him. 
The result saw Hitchin rise to third place in the table ahead of their visit on Saturday to second-placed Chippenham Town, with the two sides currently separated only by goal difference. 

FINAL SCORE Hitchin Town 4 Cambridge City 2  
Hitchin - Horlock, Rolfe, Walster, Ann, Webb, Bickerstaff, McNamara, Callum Donnelly, Brett Donnelly, Spence, Kirkpatrick  
Subs - Burns (for Brett Donnelly), Pearson, Palmiero (for Ann), Leavers (for Callum Donnelly), Frendo 
Cambridge - Barrett, Lewis, Day, Kelly, Standen, Woolfe, Serrano, Kaye, Norris, Hall, Harradine 
Subs - Reynolds (for Kelly), Midgley, Castiglione (for Woolfe), Horton (for Serrano) 
Hitchin – C Donnelly 15, Kirkpatrick 25 & 72, McNamara 51 
Cambridge – Woolfe 47, Norris 90 
Attendance – 374 
Man of the Match – Lucas Kirkpatrick 
Colin (photo by Peter Else) 

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